Saturday, March 11, 2006

Gift Furthers Study of Koreans and Christianity - Los Angeles Times

Gift Furthers Study of Koreans and Christianity - Los Angeles Times:
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L.A. County employee Dong Soon Im and his wife, Mi Ja Im, donate a $1-million windfall to fund an academic chair at UCLA.

By Juliet Chung, Times Staff Writer
March 11, 2006

"For a decade, UCLA officials searched for funds to underwrite a chair for the study of Koreans and Christianity. All their efforts failed.

Then last year someone finally emerged to endow the professorship with a $1-million gift...."

The benefactors are members of a Presbyterian church, and came into a windfall when they sold property they had owned for over 25 years.

20% of the South Korean population is Christian, and this is credited with the move toward democracy in Korea.

Korea is second only to the United States in the number of missionaries they send out, and some of them are here in the United States.

According to the Prebyterian Historical Society, Korea only became open to outside influences in 1883, and Presbyterian missionaries were among the first to arrive. The American Presbyterians followed their geographical traditions with the PCUSA working in the northern part while the PCUS worked in the south.

This mission included not only evangelism but education and medical efforts as well. (No wonder Marj Carpenter is "sinfully proud" of our Presbyterian heritage...)

Evangelism in Korea has been a success story, and Presbyterians should be glad to have played a part in God's plan. I hope as a denomination we can rekindle the outward-looking zeal that American Presbyterians had in the late 19th and 20th centuries. We could do no better than to look at the Korean Presbyterian Church for a role model.

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